NASCAR star Bubba Wallace, who drives the legendary no. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, is teaming up with the National Auto Body Council (NABC) to put the brakes on distracted driving.
Distracted driving, particularly related to cell phone use, has become one of the most significant factors in vehicle accidents in the U.S. Many states are enacting tough laws banning phone use in the car with stiff fines attached.
Working with Petty Motorsports partners BASF, the official paint of the team, and 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division, Wallace is sharing his tips and advice for reducing distractions on the road, especially for younger drivers.
“I love being on my phone and sharing what I’m doing with my friends, family and followers,” said Wallace. “But as a NASCAR driver, I know that even the slightest distraction that takes your focus off what is in front of you can put you in the wall. When I get in my race car, I take the time to focus my attention and make sure everything is set before I fire up the engine. And it’s the same when I get in my daily drive – I check my directions and set my GPS, line up my music and make sure my phone is put up where I can’t see it and am not tempted to answer it. Your car covers 45 feet in one second at 30 mph – that’s one quick look at your cell phone. We all need to make the effort to put down our phones and put the brakes on distracted driving!”
Wallace, who has spent more than a decade competing in a variety of racing series, offers these tips for staying safe and focused on the road:
- Don’t answer your phone or check messages while driving. Better yet, turn these devices off when you get into your car or put them in the console.
- Hands-free technology doesn’t mean accident free – talking on the phone is still a distraction from the road.
- Never text and drive! Texting takes your eyes and mind off the road and your hands off the wheel.
- Deal with distractions such as eating, putting on make-up, reading, combing your hair and checking messages before you hit the road.
- Be well rested before getting behind the wheel. If you are out late and too tired to drive home, sleep over or call a taxi.
- Ensure you have clear directions to your destination and check them before you leave. Listen to your GPS device; don’t look at it.
- Adjust the seat, headrest, seatbelt, rearview mirror, climate control, radio, etc., to your liking before you drive – and if you’re driving a rental car, make sure you’re familiar with all the controls in advance.
- Pull over if you need to make a call, check a message, deal with passengers, eat or drink.
- Tell everyone that for safety reasons, you no longer answer calls or respond to messages while driving.
- Ask passengers to keep chatter to a minimum and help you navigate.
- For young drivers, remind friends that safety comes first – no selfies in the car, seatbelts always in use and no distracting the driver.
- Install an app on their phone that block texts and phone calls when you are behind the wheel.
“We’re proud to work with our NABC members BASF and 3M and partner with Bubba Wallace on this program,” said Bill Garoutte, president and CEO of the NABC. “When you look at the dangers on the road today, distracted driving has become a critical issue. On-board technology and cell phones take drivers’ attention away from the road in front of them. And advanced safety systems provide a false sense of security. We want to help educate drivers of all ages about the dangers of distracted driving and how to eliminate these distractions behind the wheel.”
Added BASF Director of Marketing Daniel Bihlmeyer, “As a partner with the National Auto Body Council and their Distracted Driving initiative, we are proud to support this program to help educate drivers about being safer on the road. And, as a partner with Richard Petty Motorsports, we couldn’t have a better representative for this program than the driver of the no. 43 Petty Ford – Bubba Wallace.”
“It is so important for everyone, but in particular our younger people, to realize how seconds of distraction can affect your life or someone else’s forever,” said Dale Ross, U.S. marketing operations manager for 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division. “It’s definitely an important message, and we are happy to partner with BASF, NABC and Richard Petty Motorsports and support this initiative.”